Turning 20: An Over-dramatic 19 Year Old's Perspective

Happy New Year Everyone! I hope your 2017 was as much of a banger as mine was! But enough of that, bring on 2018! Having had possibly the best year I’ve had in 10 years, I’m approaching this year very much hoping that this good streak is going to continue. However, being a 1998 baby means that I am faced with the inevitability that by the end of this year I will officially no longer be a teenager – that is if I don’t manage to break myself at any point before then. 

To start off with, I instruct all of you who are turning 20 this year to give yourself a pat on the back! If you are turning 20, it means that you have made in through possibly the 7 most awkward, traumatic years of your life. I am personally rejoicing at the idea that I am saying goodbye to that saga! Sure, being a teenager normally does not come with the responsibility of being an adult, but it is still a painful, painful time. I’m talking spots, greasy – and I mean really greasy – hair, and all the truly terrifying things that begin happening in your downstairs area. Then there’s the peer pressure to swipe your V-card, your personal appearance and hygiene suddenly beginning to matter and exam after exam after exam (yawn). But you know what’s worse of all? When being a teenager becomes a little overwhelming, and we find ourselves absolutely losing it with someone, we’re almost immediately dismissed as “difficult teenagers”. Well to that I say OF COURSE WE ARE! We have hormones pulsing through our bodies, and spend most of our lives with other people who also have to deal with hormones pulsing through their bodies – and lots of them.

But we’re no longer teenagers, so if we lose it with you then it’s not because we’re hormonal clusters of pimples and panty liners. I guess it just means we’re dealing with yet another change in our life. Adulthood.

With the trauma of teenage years gone we have no choice but to move on to adulthood. And that’s scary too. I personally never considered turning 20 to be a particularly big deal until I considered what my mum accomplished in her twenties. Quite honestly, I have no idea how she did it. By 30, she’d moved continents, graduated from university, got married, had a full-time job, given birth to me and was pregnant with my brother. That is a lot to accomplish in 10 years and if I’m perfectly honest, I think I’ll be lucky if I do half of those things! For most people, including my lovely mum, it is the decade in your life where you make perhaps the most serious decisions that may define you for years to come, both in your professional and personal life. And I really don’t feel ready to make a lot of those decisions. 

When I look at myself in the mirror, I see what I have seen for years. 5”1, blue eyes, freckles, long floppy hair and bad posture. Like a lot of people in their early 20s, if I looked in the mirror at the age of 13, I would have been met with the exact same sight, plus or minus a few freckles. And I feel equally as lost and delirious as I did then half the time. But whilst we may look very similar to our 13-year-old selves, it is easy to forget just how much we have changed.

As I entered my 13th year I can remember exactly what my priorities were centred around: besties, boobs and boys. My entire life was so centred around what other people thought of me that I never took the time to really think about what exactly I wanted. As I enter my 20s, I do so as a young woman whose ambition in life is driven by want I want for me, rather than what other people think of me. Whilst I am still nervous to leave the shelter of childhood behind, I feel as though I have gained so much independence and self-worth in these past seven years, that I leave as a happy, confident and reasonably independent person.

So, if you are nervous about what your 20s have in store for you, don’t be. Whilst the potential challenges we face in our twenties seem daunting now, we as humans appear to have a wonderful way of learning on the job, and adapting to meet the challenges put before us. So, put down the paper bag you’ve been hyperventilating into and relax. We can do this, guys!



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